What would you, as a sales person, be willing to do to land a million dollar account for your company that could earn you a $50,000 commission and jump start your career? On the other side of the table, what lengths would you pursue to insure the best price, quality and delivery as well as “a little something extra for yourself”?
Esther is a female African American sales rep for a California company that “manufactures” piping, connectors, supports and construction supplies. Barry is a white mid management underling posing as the company purchasing agent for a construction firm that has landed a multi-million dollar government contract to construct a hospital. After months of phone negotiations, they finally meet at the bar in Esther’s hotel.
Over the course of the negotiations it becomes clear that Esther is struggling at her job and is willing to compromise. Barry, on the other hand, is willing and able to take advantage of every weakness that Esther shows. Thus is the premise of “Made In America” now playing at Dobama Theatre through April 6, 2014.
In the course of this powerful and dynamic play, profound issues are raised including inter-racial sex, business ethics, honesty, integrity, government regulations and what actually denotes “Made In America” as far as products are concerned.
Joel Hammer* (Barry) and Colleen Longshaw* (Esther) are perfectly matched in this battle of the wills as each one works to expose and exploit the other’s weaknesses in order to “seal the deal”. Each in turn has ulterior motives as well as mal-functioning moral compasses. The question is, will each one get what they most desire or will the act of compromise result in each one giving up what they cannot afford to lose?
*Member of Actors’ Equity Association, the Union of Professional Actors and Stage Managers in the United States, appearing under a Special Appearance Contract.
From the opening line to the dramatic finish this is a work that will hold your attention throughout. The pacing is fast and furious, the story easy to follow and the surprise ending leaves no room for doubt. Joel and Colleen bring a tremendous amount of energy and skill to these demanding roles and fill the stage with their presence. The set is eerily familiar to anyone who has spent time in hotel rooms (I recognized the “starving artist” painting on the wall right off). It is bare bones amenities designed to insure a return visit but without breaking the hotel’s budget. The lighting was more than adequate and the sound was crystal clear.
Prude Alert: This play deals with some rather raw subjects of sex, lying, infidelity, drinking and questionable business practices. If you are sensitive to this type of subject matter as well as quite a lot of language you might wish to sit this one out.
Shooting From The Lip (My Last Words): “Made In America” offers an intense evening of drama that slowly builds to a crescendo. It magnifies the seamier side of capitalism as well as the human condition. After the well played set up with the first act, the second act surprises you with a series of plot twists that will delight and satisfy.
7:30 p.m. Thursdays
8:00 p.m. Fridays
8:00 p.m. Saturdays
2:30 p.m. Sundays
To order tickets, call (216) 932-3396 or go online at http://dobama.org/made-in-america/
Pre-show talks: 3/13, 3/16, 3/21, 3/22, 3/27, 3/30, 4/4, 4/5
*pre-show talks begin 45 minutes before curtain